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AMS Dairy Program’s Virtual Intern Program Recognized as a “Bright Idea”

AMS Dairy Virtual Intern Program Team Lead Dora Flores communicates with virtual intern Daman Wandke.  The team was one of 111 programs honored with a 2012 Harvard University Bright Ideas initiative award.

AMS Dairy Virtual Intern Program Team Leads Sarah Buikema and Dora Flores communicate with their student interns. The program allows interns to work with the agency on a part-time basis as they continue their education at schools all across the country.

I am pleased to say that our Dairy Programs’ Virtual Intern Program (VIP) was recently honored by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our team was among 111 programs honored by the school’s Bright Ideas initiative.  The initiative, part of the Innovations in American Government Awards program, promotes creative government ventures and partnerships while creating an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared and disseminated.

In 2001, AMS Dairy Programs founded the Virtual Intern Program to help our agency retain diverse interns and to improve our information technology efficiencies. To do this, the program allows student interns to continue working with the agency remotely on a part-time basis while they finish their degrees.  The arrangement provides our interns financial, social and career support that strengthens on-time graduation and their leadership skills.  Our goal is to develop a group of successful professionals who are able to maneuver in an increasingly complex work environment.

Bright Ideas programs were evaluated and selected by a team of policy experts from academic and public sectors.  The honorees are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions. You can read more about the VIP as well as other honorees here.  You can also find out more information about our Virtual Intern Program on the USDA Blog.

Our VIP was selected from an extensive list of programs from different school districts, counties, cities, states, federal agencies and even some public-private partnerships.  All the programs demonstrate what can be accomplished by generating new ideas and taking reasonable risks.

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